The best of these pizzas are inspired by those found in Naples: individually sized, a thin, soft crust with raised edges, and a minimal amount of high-quality toppings that’s been cooked in a very hot, often wood-burning oven that’s been built for the purpose. It is a testament to the skill of a kitchen to be able to make tasty pizza dough and then adorn and cook a pizza properly, consistently. It is not easy. I know, having countless mediocre and worse renditions in recent years sampling margherita pizzas in restaurants throughout the city. Below are restaurants where you can order a pizza with confidence. Those at the top of the list, you might even go just for the pizza. Listed in order of preference.
Da Marco – Marco Wiles introduced Neapolitan-inspired pizzas to Houston here, which begat the stellar pizza-centric Dolce Vita for many years down the street. Only offering its excellent take on the margherita and only at lunch, but it’s still one of the best pizzas in the city. Montrose
Amalfi – Chef-proprietor Giancarlo Ferrara hails from Salerno down the coast from Naples and his pizza oven helps showcase the pride he takes in his region’s beloved creation. The skillfully rendered Neapolitan-inspired pizzas come in ten different versions ranging from a margherita with Buffalo mozzarella and grape tomatoes to one featuring marinated salmon, a cacio e pepe and another with roasted pork, spicy salami and jalapeños. Briargrove
Ostia – Just a red and white – no tomato sauce – and just at lunch. The red might involve a margherita with a protein the white cheese and maybe an egg. Both feature a properly enjoyable, fairly flavorful soft crust with ingredients that are noticeably higher quality and so tastier than usual. You might want a little more integration between the toppings and crust, but these are still pizzas were returning for. Montrose
Amore – This replication of sorts of Da Marco from a former chef also does a very creditable job of Neapolitan-themed pizzas featuring a well-made thin crust and pleasing, appropriate toppings, much more than just the margherita. Cooked in a prominently displayed golden tile-covered pizza oven at this simply set 86-seater somewhat hidden away on Shepherd near W. Alabama sharing a pizza can be a fine way to start a meal or as a lunch. Montrose
Rosie Cannonball – The upscale, pricy, mostly Italian, often Emilian cuisine-inspired eatery takes a detour to Naples for its commendable, thin individual pizzas available with a half-dozen including a couple vegetarian ones that almost hit the $25 mark, but you’ll willing pay that. Top-notch ingredients are used properly with a fine crust anchoring the pizzas that are Italian in style if not necessarily Neapolitan. Montrose
Trattoria Sofia – The pizzas might be the only reason to visit this Italian-American spot on 11th Street that is part of the Berg collection of restaurants. Small in size, even for an individually sized pizza, the crust is light and flavorful. Thin crust, the pizzas are not Neapolitan, more like an American restaurant imitation of it, but quite enjoyable. Available in several appealing versions. These are even better than the ones at its sibling B+B Butchers, which are also fairly well done. Heights
Weights + Measures – This very versatile spot also does a commendable job with pizzas cooked in a wood-burning oven including a unique version topped with roasted carrots, the cooked onion and cream soubise sauce, Fresno chiles, cilantro, dukka and gruyere that has earned plenty of fans. There are several other options including the necessary margherita if you don’t want to stray too far from tradition. For all of them, you can expect that the dough will be of high quality from a restaurant sharing space with Slough Dough bake shop. Midtown
Tiny Boxwoods / Tiny’s No. 5 – These precious spots perfect for moms dining with daughters returning home from the sorority don’t skimp on the quality of its fare, which includes some tasty, nicely light pizzas made with quality ingredients in a handful of enticing options including a margherita-like with pesto substituting for basil solo. River Oaks, West U
Carrabba’s (Kirby and Voss) – Houston’s favorite Italian-American restaurants, the two original Carrabba’s still run by Johnny and mother, serve creditable individually sized but hearty pizzas from pizza ovens set near the seemingly always bustling bar area. There is a margherita and pepperoni, of course but another with sausage, eggplant, and sweet peppers and another with fig, arugula, and prosciutto along with lemon preserves, goat cheese, and pine nuts with a balsamic glaze. Plus, different than the others on the list, you can create your list of toppings. Upper Kirby, Briargrove
The tasty Pesto & Mozzarella Pizza at Tiny's No. 5 in West U.